Through the first 19 games of the 2015-16 regular season, there should be little argument as to who has been the Bruins’ (10-8-1) best all-around player thus far. In his third season in Boston, left wing Loui Eriksson has been nothing short of superb. He leads the team in goals (nine ) and shooting percentage (25.7 percent) while he’s tied with Patrice Bergeron for the most power-play goals on the team, with five. He’s a big reason why the B’s have the top-ranked power play in the league.
Eriksson is also second in plus-minus (plus-6) on the B’s, third in points (18) and he is the only full-time player without any penalties. This is the player that former Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli thought he was getting in return from Dallas for Tyler Seguin in that fateful trade on July 4, 2013.
After his assist in last Saturday’s 2-0 shutout of Toronto (7-10-4) at TD Garden, Eriksson’s point streak was extended to four games (four goals, two assists).
“That first season, I was dealing with concussions and I felt more comfortable last year,” noted Eriksson. “Something good happens when I’m standing out front (of the net). It was nice to get the win and it’s been a while since I had a hat trick (Dec. 31, 2009 with the Stars).”
The 30-year-old Swede is far too kind to say it but please, let’s stop with the lazy comparisons between him and Seguin. They will always be completely different players, plus it wasn’t a straight-up swap of just those two.
Head coach Claude Julien, for one, knows what he has in a healthy Eriksson.
“He’s been good since the beginning of the year, good in other areas (than goals) like the penalty kill and defensive zone,” Julien said. “He’s on top of his game and he is a great player in all situations.”
The timing of Eriksson’s improved play couldn’t be better for him as he will enter next summer as an unrestricted free agent. This is the last season of a six-year deal worth $25.5 million that he originally signed with Dallas in 2010. If he stays healthy and keeps this up, it’ll be hard for Boston to retain him since, no doubt, some other club in the NHL will throw some bigger money offers at him (think Carl Soderberg in Colorado). That’s also why he remains the No. 1 trade chip for the Bruins this season with the trade deadline coming up on Feb. 29, 2016.